The Ultimate ONTRAPORT Migration Guide

So you’re thinking of moving your online business to an all-in-one marketing automation software like ONTRAPORT, but you don’t know where to start?

Well, look no further!

I’ve compiled a comprehensive 10-step guide to help you migrate all of your customer data effortlessly into ONTRAPORT.

A migration can take anywhere from a day to a week, depending on the amount of data that has to be transferred over.

I will be honest with you though… A migration can be a lot of work.

Okay, let’s get started!


The very first thing you need to do, is download your copy of my ONTRAPORT Migration Checklist. This will help you keep track of your migration and make sure you don’t forget any steps.

All you need to do is click on the image below, enter your information, and it will be automatically emailed to you.


Print a yourself a copy, and follow along the guide below.

NOTE: If you are not yet an ONTRAPORT user, then go ahead and Sign Up Now. You will need the “Pro” account to take advantage of all the automation features showcased in this guide.


Before you do anything in ONTRAPORT, it’s important to make a list of all of the assets you will be transferring over.

This will help you keep your migration organized and to ensure you don’t forget anything.

Make a list of:

  • The lead magnets you’re giving away.
  • The products you’re currently selling.
  • The products you’ve sold in the past.
  • The “lists” or autoresponders you’re using.
  • The URLs of your landing & thank you pages.
  • The URLs of your sales pages.

You can document everything in a simple spreadsheet using Microsoft Excel or Google Documents.

Here’s a screenshot of mine:


As you can see, there is quite a bit of information on the spreadsheet. Take a few minutes to compile your own, and keep it for reference. You will need it later.


Next, you will want to sign into your ONTRAPORT account and create your contact tags based on the information you collected in the previous step.

(Again, if you are not yet an ONTRAPORT user, then go ahead and Sign Up Now. You will need the “Pro” account to take advantage of all the automation features showcased in this guide.)

Create a tag for every lead magnet and product you currently sell (or have previously sold.)

I recommend grouping your tags together by labeling them like this:

“Lead Magnet – Name of Lead Magnet”
“Product – Name of Product”

You might also want to create any additional tags that can be used to identify or group your contacts.

For example, if you have a list of contacts who have attended a webinar in the past, you could create a tag like this: “Webinar – Topic – Date of Attendance”.

Here’s how you can create contact tags inside ONTRAPORT:


And here’s a screenshot of my tags:


You might notice a few additional tags like “Status – In Indoctrination”. I use these tags to monitor the behavior of my contacts within my business.

So for example, if someone is currently receiving my welcome series (tagged “Status – In Indoctrination”), then I want to segment these contacts out of my email broadcasts (so they don’t receive too many emails from me.)

That’s a topic for another post…

But for now, all you need to do is create the tags you need to import your contacts into ONTRAPORT. You can always add more tags later.


Next, you’ll want to create your products inside your ONTRAPORT account. This is for the products and/or services you sell on your website.

NOTE: You may also want to create products for “old products” you no longer sell, as you’ll be able to attribute past purchases to your contacts during the import process.

Here’s how you can create your products inside ONTRAPORT:


And here’s a screenshot of my products:


Don’t worry about setting the correct price of your products. You can always change it later.

If you want to deliver your products inside a member’s area, where your customers will need a username and password to access the material, then you will need to use the WordPress PilotPress plugin (which is 100% FREE).

Here’s how you can create your membership levels inside ONTRAPORT:


You’ll also want to check off the proper membership level inside your WordPress installation.

Like this:


NOTE: There are many ways of configuring a membership site, and ONTRAPORT does have a feature to “drip-feed” a product or course over several weeks or months. However, for this guide, I’m only going to create one membership level for each product, which means the customer will get access to the entire program after their purchase.


No matter which ESP (Email Service Provider) you are migrating from, you will, unfortunately, need to create a new email template within your ONTRAPORT account.

This is a relatively simple process. You can either use ONTRAMAIL (which is a template and block-driven email editor), or you can use the HTML Editor.

Either way is fine.

Create an email with your branding and signature and save it as “1 – Template” with the subject line “X” so you can easily find it.

Later on, when you want to compose a new email, all you will have to do is “Copy” the template into a new message. This will save you a lot of time.

Personally, I prefer my emails to look like something I would send to a friend. So I use the HTML Editor and only include my logo at the bottom.

Here is what my email template looks like:


Yes, the email looks very plain. But once you add a few paragraphs of text and include a PostScript, then it looks like an email you would send to a friend.

If you would like to create one like this, simply paste the code below into the “Source” section of your email.

Like this:


NOTE: It might be a good idea to hire a programmer that can convert your existing email template into ONTRAPORT. This way your existing contacts will instantly recognize you once you start emailing them from your ONTRAPORT account.


One of the most time-consuming tasks of migrating to ONTRAPORT is moving over your existing autoresponder emails.

It’s a relatively simple process, however, it has to be done manually.

The way ONTRAPORT works is you will first, have to create your emails inside the “Messages” section, and then build sequences using those emails.

You will end up with A LOT of emails…

So be sure to keep things organized by labeling them like this:

“Group – Name of Sequence – Email # – Description”

Once you have a few emails that are organized this way, you can group them using the “Group” feature.

Here’s how I labeled my emails for one of my courses:

Product – Walk in Harmony – Email 1 – Thank You & Welcome

Product – Walk in Harmony – Email 2 – Here’s Your Bonuses!

Product – Walk in Harmony – Email 3 – Request Testimonial & Feedback

Product – Walk in Harmony – Email 4 – Refer A Friend

And here’s what the sequence looks:


This sequence is very simple. It starts by tagging the contact for having purchased the product (tagged “Product – Walk In Harmony”) and then they’re given access to the membership site.

The system will automatically generate the contact a username and password which will be sent to them in Email #1.

Now, once you start playing around your ONTRAPORT account, you’ll eventually notice that you can automate things in several ways.

For example, you can tag a contact by using automated rules, after completing an opt-in form or with tasks within a sequence.

Personally, I like to keep things as simple and organized as possible, so I tend to do my automation inside sequences whenever possible.

NOTE: You will need to create a sequence for every Lead Magnet and Product that you sell. You may also want to create a Welcome Series that introduces your brand to new contacts that are added to your database.


Now that you have most of your ONTRAPORT account set up and ready, it’s now time to import your existing contacts.

You will need to first export your current list of contact out of your old email marketing system.

There’s basically two types of systems:

  • List Based
  • Tag Based

Either way, you will want to segment and export your contacts based on the lead magnet they downloaded, and which product they purchased.

If you’ve taken the time to do STEP #1, then this should be simply a matter of logging into your system and exporting the data.

IMPORTANT: When you export your contacts, DO NOT export those who have previously unsubscribed from your list. By law, you are not allowed to email anyone who has opted out. And if you do happen to email these contacts, they will most likely complain and mark your emails as spam, causing your deliverability to crash and potentially shutting down your ONTRAPORT account… basically making your life a living hell. So just don’t do it. smile

Here’s how you can import your contacts into ONTRAPORT:

1. Navigate to “Contacts > Settings > Import Contacts.”

2. Drag your .CSV file in the box or click on “Browse computer” and select a list to import.

3. If your list includes a header row (which means the first row says what the fields are, like email, name, etc.), click on the “Do not import header row” checkbox. Like this:


4. Then leave the import settings as default and make sure you read, agree with and accept the USAGE AGREEMENTS.


5. Then match the fields inside your .CSV field to the ones inside ONTRAPORT. Sometimes they are different, for example, my old ESP (Email Service Provider) used the field “Name” but ONTRAPORT uses “First Name”.


6. And finally, add a rule to automatically tag all of the new contacts with the appropriate tag. Like this:


If you are importing a list of customers who purchased one of your products, you can also create a rule to add the product to their history.

Like this:


Repeat this process with each one of your lists, lead magnets and products.

NOTE: Depending on how many contacts you’re importing, it may take 24 – 48 hours before ONTRAPORT approves your imported contacts. You will be able to see if they are under review if their “Bulk E-Mail Status” says “Pending Review.”


Once ONTRAPORT has approved your contacts, you will want to send your customers their new login credentials to access the products they’ve paid for.

Create a group of contacts for each one of your products, like this:


Then, create a new message explaining why they are receiving new login credentials. Mention that you’ve moved to a new system and you haven’t forgotten about them.


Lastly, create a new sequence which grants them access to the membership level along with the email containing their new login credentials.


Then, all you have to do is “Select All” the contacts in that group, and add them to the sequence.


Repeat for each product.


Automation rules are going to be the heart of your ONTRAPORT account. This is where you will set up what happens to your contacts based on their behavior or actions they take.

For example, you can set up automation rules if someone fills out an opt-in form, visits a web page, purchases or refunds a product, clicks on a link, sends you an email, etc.

And based on the triggered event, you can add them to a sequence, send them an email, create a task, give them access to a product, etc.

The sky is the limit…

But for simplicity, let’s focus on creating an automation rule for when someone purchases your products.

Here’s how you can create this rule inside ONTRAPORT:


NOTE: Your should also create automation rules for when someone refunds your products. Simply add them to a sequence that automatically revokes their access. You can also create an automation rule that adds any new contact added to your database to a “Welcome Series” sequence.


While ONTRAPORT is reviewing your contact import, it’s a good time to finalize the migration by updating the opt-in forms and links on your website.

This is probably the most technical step of this guide… But I will do my best to keep it simple for you.

First of all, you will need to add the ONTRAPORT tracking code to your website. If you’ve already installed and configured the WordPress PilotPress plugin, then you’re all set.

However, if you don’t use WordPress, then you will need to add the TRACKING CODE to your website or pages <body> tag.

You can get this code by logging into your ONTRAPORT account, clicking on your email address (top right of the screen), and then selecting “Administration”…

The “GET TRACKING CODE” link is at the bottom right of the page.


Next, you will need to create an opt-in form for each one of your lead magnets. This is how your contacts are going to enter your ONTRAPORT account (other than buying a product or service.)

Here’s how you can create a smart form inside ONTRAPORT:


NOTE: If you’re updating an existing form, then you will need to publish the form using the “HTML VERSION” and updating the code manually. It might be a good idea to hire a programmer to do this for you, as it can get very technical.

Once you’ve updated your opt-in forms… You will want to test them to make sure everything is working properly. Always test using a real email address so you don’t unintentionally increase your bounce rate.

Make sure that once the form is filled out, that you are being redirected to the proper thank you page. Then go look into ONTRAPORT and make sure the new contact is being added to the proper sequence and the right tags are being applied.


To fully take advantage of ONTRAPORT’s automation features, it’s recommended that you integrate with a Payment Gateway.

This will give you the ability to track the purchase history of your contacts, do 1-click upsells, and automatically follow-up with relevant offers.

Here’s how you can create a payment gateway inside ONTRAPORT:


Next, you’ll want to create some checkout pages for each one of your products.

This is relatively easy if you use ONTRAPAGES, as they have ready-to-use templates.

Here’s an example checkout page I created using ONTRAPAGES for one of my products:


NOTE: If you want to use self-hosted checkout pages, then you will need to create a SMART FORM, publish it using the “HTML VERSION” and then update the code manually. It might be a good idea to hire a programmer to do this for you, as it’s very technical.


Okay, so you’ve finished migrating your business to ONTRAPORT… Now what?

Well, I would highly recommend that you create a goodwill campaign to send to your entire list of contacts (or to the contacts who requested a lead magnet from you in the past.)

For two reasons:

Reason #1: When you migrate to a new ESP (Email Service Provider) like ONTRAPORT, you unfortunately need to re-establish your reputation as a sender to the email giants like Gmail and Yahoo.

Depending on how their users interact with your emails, your emails will either be delivered to their Inbox or they will be marked as spam.

Reason #2: ONTRAPORT has a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to spam, and you must maintain a complaint rate less than 0.35% (that’s less than half of one percent), or your account can get suspended.

If you start out by sending promotional emails, then you’re going to get a higher complaint rate than if you were to send content your contacts LIKE and WANT.

So, here’s what you should include in your first email:

Who you are – ONTRAPORT has excellent delivery rates, and depending on your old ESP (Email Service Provider), your emails might have been blocked and this might be the first time some of your contacts ever hear from you. You don’t want this first email to be “Buy my stuff” or they’ll mark it as spam and/or complain.

Why they’re on your list – Remind your contacts why they entered your business in the first place. If you haven’t emailed your contacts for a while, you’ll definitely need to do this as people have very short attention spans and they most likely won’t remember you.

Give them something of value – Then you’ll want to generate goodwill and trust by giving your contacts something they value. It can be anything like a lead magnet, a free trial to one of your product, or maybe a giveaway contest.

Send a few emails like this over the next 7 – 14 days. Then you can proceed as you used to before the migration.

For example, with my dog training business I’ve decided to send them one of my FREE dog training eBooks, something I’m sure they’ll appreciate.

Here’s the email that I sent:


I’m also going to do a FREE giveaway contest the following week, with the prize being a $100 gift basket to one lucky winner.

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